Thursday, 10 April 2008

Give the white card the red card

It's official. The lunatics have taken over the asylum (with apologies to all genuine lunatics).

It's emerged that Australia are considering trialling a tennis-style "white card" system that gives teams one opportunity each half to challenge a referee's decision, allowing a TMO to rule on any challenged incident.

The frankly insane system was trialled for the first time this week in South Africa during the Varsity Cup final between the Cape Town and Stellenbosch university teams and was rated an overwhelming success by 2003 World Cup final referee Andre Watson - which should be enough in itself to make sure that this ludicrous idea never sees the light of day.

Nevertheless, this lunacy appears to be gathering support following Aussie referee Paul Marks' decision not to refer an 80th-minute incident to the TMO in the recent Hurricanes v Sharks match, instead deciding (incorrectly as it turns out) to rule out a last minute Hurricanes try for a knock on with the scores tied at 13-all.

Setting aside the fact that the Hurricanes would almost certainly have already used up their white card challenge long before the 80th minute, it's pretty obvious that any such a system would seriously undermine the referee's authority. The cynic in me also suggests that captains will find ways of using the white card tactically to slow the game down at crucial times - the Aussie Referee's Chief Peter Marshall has suggested introducing some kind of penalty to prevent such frivolous challenges but there lies the way to madness - introducing a stupid law and then trying to find ways to penalise its misuse.

Notwithstanding that nobody has explained exactly where on a captain's person the white card is supposed to be kept (!), it's about time rugby administrators remembered what rugby is all about - referees, like players, make mistakes. It happens, it has always happened and will continue to happen. Rugby, however, has always prided itself on the respect shown to officials by players, respect which is already eroding with the amount of backchat in the game today and which will be further undermined by allowing this ridiculous proposal to gain any further currency.

So please...a heartfelt message to those intent on ruining our game...STOP MEDDLING!


Matt @ Green and Gold Rugby said...

Bah Humbug

Total Flanker said...

Ha ha... you know me so well!

Nursedude said...

With the ELV's and now this suggestion, it seems like southern hemisphere rugby is becoming like a 8 year old kid with a new chemistry set in that they just want to tinker with something. I don't like this new suggestion. I think there are already plenty of chances for match officials to go up to the TMO. I felt in the case of the Hurricanes=Sharks, there were plenty of blown calls on both sides.